Another day in Miami Beach, another set of beautiful homes proposed to be demolished by the never ending momentum of our billion dollar sandbar, which seems to wash away historic homes as quickly as the ebb and flow of the tides. Yes, that's a horribly biased view, because not every old house is gorgeous (although most seem to be) and some new houses don't suck, but who's the person writing this article anyways, huh?
The home at 820 Lakeview Drive is one example from the pack which has an interesting history to boot. It was built by Polly Lux, later Polly Lux de Hirsch-Meyer - no she wasn't nobility, although she was married to a man named Baron and she was one of the original Ziegfeld Follies. Which for Miami is pretty close enough.
`Miss Lux was a "Viennese beauty" from Pittsburgh, who was glorified by Florenz Ziegfeld in the late 1920s and went on to become a successful developer after she retired from the Ziegfeld Follies. She moved to Miami Beach with her mother and brother and $20,000 including an inheritance from her father and $6,000 from the sale of her Broadway lingerie shop. With guts and gumption she became the first licensed female contractor in Florida. The Royal was her third hotel project, preceded by the Imperial and Majestic on Ocean Drive and later followed by the Triton on Collins and 29th Street. Within eight years, she had amassed an estimated fortune at $300,000 by successfully building, buying, leasing and selling properties. The Miami Herald reported that she had "courage, a capacity for hard work, a natural and friendly manner, and simple tastes… a shrewd business woman but feminine to her finger tips."
Check out photos of her 1941 home designed by Streamline Moderne master Carlos Schoeppl, replete with a spectacular terrazo motif in the Florida room and a graceful oh-so-cute-but-not-too-big curved staircase that defined homes of the pre-war era.
The replacement home is replete with 5 bedrooms, elevator, and maids room, with it all coming in at a generous 9,000 square feet. Designed by Praxis Architecture, it appears to be a spec house. It's set for demolition review on Tuesday, which means Ziegfeld Folly fans still have time to go pitchfork shopping to save this historic beaut.
· Rebirth of the Royal - One of Alvin Malnik's Fab Five Deco Buildings [Miami Beach Reflections]